Downtown Anchorage seen with the Alaska Range to the north.
Ken Graham

Anchorage Visitor Snapshot

Friday, September 01, 2017

What should you do to find, talk to, and attract the most likely Anchorage visitors? Last summer’s data can inform tactics when we’re chasing more travelers, and could inform sales and marketing programs. This is the closest we can get to answers to some really big questions. Who are Anchorage travelers? What are their habits? How do they book us? What do they do when they’re here?

The findings from the Alaska Visitors Statistics Program incorporate extensive surveys conducted with real travelers during intercepts in the summer of 2016. The report covers summer leisure visitation. The report does not study in-state travel.

Between 2011 and 2016, Anchorage visitors got older. The average age was 54, three years older than in 2011. A household income above $100,000 and geographic proximity or good air connectivity to Anchorage we’re also good indicators of likely visitors. 45% of Anchorage travelers come from seven states and a single Canadian province. Top geographic markets for Anchorage travelers include California, Washington, Texas, Oregon, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, and British Columbia. Broadly speaking, visitors are from large population centers with good connections or geographic proximity. The U.S. and Canada
account for 90 percent of summer visitation. Of the remaining 10 percent, no single country makes up more than 2 percent. In this case, the data for Anchorage mirrors that for the state as a whole.

Demographic data and averages don’t tell the whole story. But if businesses want to find the most likely Alaska leisure travelers, and market to them in high densities these are the places we should be looking and working.

Summer visitor volume and spending were both up between 2011 and 2016. Anchorage visitor volume grew 14% in five years, slower than the state average, but outpacing the rest of the Railbelt.

Travel agent use declined statewide, and agent use dropped at a higher rate for Anchorage, a sign that direct-to consumer channels are more important than ever when stimulating demand.

Travel planning habits shifted as well. Nearly two-thirds of Anchorage summer visitors book over the internet. But not everything about travel requires a screen. Multiple studies confirm that recommendations from friends and family – most often in person – are the most frequently used, trusted, and valuable sources of travel planning information. Many other insights are available in the full report.